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Abstract

In this paper we explore the ways in which culturally based beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours influence participation in and the development and delivery of water safety education programs. We examine existing data pertaining to ethnic and racial minorities’ drowning rates and argue that these groups’ high rates of drowning are related to a failure to understand and account for non-Eurocentric beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors, and issues of social exclusion. We then summarize health communication strategies and provide real-life examples of these strategies at work in water safety education. Finally, we identify four overarching promising practices to enhance the relevance and effectiveness of water education programs targeted at ethnic and cultural minorities. In short, we argue that literature pertaining to cultural aspects of water safety needs to be translated into evidence-based approaches that fundamentally change the ways in which water safety education programs are designed and delivered.

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